I love songs that have to deal with the passion of music, especially ones that name check other artists and bands. Off the top of my head there's Van Morrison's "Real, Real Gone" and Arthur Conley's "Sweet Soul Music" to name a couple. This summer of 2012 you can add two more to this list.
Both acts who've given us new odes to the joy of rock are from the UK. That shouldn't be a surprise. In many ways England seems much more into music, in general, than the US. The BBC has some of the best rock radio in the world with DJs, or announcers as they're known there, who exude passion of what they play. It's the place all but forgotten American musicians go for a comeback or at least to be still appreciated. And they love American music more than we do it seems, having embraced the blues and bringing it back to us as part of the British invasion. The Kings Of Leon and, now, Alabama Shakes became big names before they gained sizeable recognition in their home country.
So here we have two odes to the power of rock music. First there's Saint Etienne, a very popular UK act, who've made little dent here in the US. I guess twee dance pop isn't our thing. The song comes from their new album Words And Music By Saint Etienne and it's called "Over The Border". It tells the first person story of the coming of age where music is integral. Peter Gabriel and Marc Bolan are named checked as well bands like Modern English, publications like NME and labels like Factory. It's a wondefully blissful song and galvanizes my love of music.
The second song is by a band named Mystery Jets taken from their new album Radlands. The album shows an outline of the state of Texas, an obvious nod to their love of America. Though the title Radlands seems to be a play on Badlands. It's either conjuring up the Springsteen song or that area of the country in South Daktoa and far from Texas.
The song, titled "Greatest Hits" deals with the breakup of a couple and what to do with the shared record collection. It's a theme that's been done before. Ryan Adams heartbreakingly sings "steal my records, screw all my friends" in "Come Pick Me Up".
In "Greatest Hits" the singer is divvying up the collection and name checking many classic rock albums including Lexicon Of Love, Country Life, Double Nickels On The Dime and Remain In Light. Some records for him and some for her, their greatest hits. He explains the personal meaning of particular albums and has musical criticisms to share with his ex. This is all set to a chorus of sha la la's and hand claps. What's not to love.
There's a video for this one as well which shows actual vinyl copies of some of the records.